This is a guest article by author D. Alan Johnson. His latest book Asgaard is set in Africa and looks at the role of Private Military Contractors. David himself is a Military Contractor and has been since 1988. We were talking recently about life in general, and the world as a whole. I invited him to offer his thoughts – Simon
Summer and fall in Texas are the seasons for water rationing. Long dry days turn into weeks and sometimes months without rain. As the reservoirs empty and the underground aquifer levels fall, local governments turn to socialist means to control water use.
News casts and direct mailings spread the schedules and warn of the heavy fines.
â€œIf your address ends in an odd number you can only water on Mondays and Thursdays, even numbers on Wednesdays and Fridays. You can never water between 10 am and 4 pm. If your watering pattern wets the sidewalk or the street you will get a fine up to 250 dollars.â€
After a couple of fines, the ante goes up. So, if you consider your plants valuable and wish to water your landscaping after a couple of tickets, you could find yourself in jail!
The police budgets are strained as cities pay officers overtime to patrol the streets for water criminals. I have always thought this a stupid, clumsy, and un-American way to sell water. People will always find a way to use cheap water to keep their plants alive.
Why not use the individualâ€™s economic best interest to regulate the supply of water? Since the typical household uses 2,100 gallons of water, keep the cost of the first 2,000 gallons at the current level. About fifty dollars for the first two thousand gallons. Then use a sliding scale to regulate water usage. Price the next 2,000 gallons at one hundred dollars. Then increase the cost of the next 2,000 gallons to two hundred dollars, and double the cost of each 2,000 gallons thereafter.
Implementing this plan would mean that the poor would never see an increase in their water bill. And it means that those lawbreakers who sneak out and water their shrubs will not get away with the lack of conservation as they do now. They will either conserve or pay. The water meter does not lie. Builders and homeowners will plant grass, trees, and shrubs that use less water, ensuring a future of lower water usage.
Those who are rich, who have invested thousands in landscaping can water their grass and their plants. What does a five thousand dollar a month water bill mean to them? However, that money can be used to upgrade and repair the city water system. Replacing one leaky water main can save more water than twenty rich people can use. The city can afford to buy water rights or recycle water that is economically unfeasible now.
One Texas town, Concan, uses an increasing scale, going from four dollars per thousand to ten dollars per thousand after the first six thousand gallons. It has been a giant success. The town has been able to upgrade their treatment plant and even dig a new well.
However, the politicians donâ€™t seem to like individual freedom or market answers. But is it really better to have an armed cop come to your house and arrest you for watering your grass in the middle of the week? How does that promote freedom or a sense of community?
Save money. Save water. Price this commodity to a realistic standard and stop patrolling my street looking for water criminals. Look for real criminals.